Manila – The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Philippines Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), through their Fish Right Program, today announced the commitment of 12 Philippine companies and brands to responsible seafood sourcing by adopting and utilizing the principles (sustainability, legal compliance, traceability, transparency and social responsibility) of the Better Seafood Philippines program. As part of their commitments, the companies will also be leaders and champions in advancing sustainable seafood in the country.
A full list of the companies and brands is provided below.
Today’s event was convened and facilitated by Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP), which is a member of the Fish Right consortium of implementing partners and leads the implementation of buyer engagement programs in the Philippines. These efforts, through industry partnerships and collaboration, seek to increase awareness and intensify campaigns on seafood sustainability, build a unified language of responsible seafood in the Philippines, expand the number of responsible seafood sourcing players, engage communities to actively address IUU fishing, and pool resources and investments from different players and sectors to support supply development.
“Buyers must work with their suppliers to ensure that measures are in place to prevent illegal fish from entering the market,” said Rebeca Andong, senior program manager at Sustainable Fisheries Partnership. “Transparency in supply chains entails due diligence and knowing the processes and the conditions under which a seafood product was sourced and traded.”
The Better Seafood Philippines program facilitates industry engagement on responsible sourcing, and, as a result, is a driving agent in tackling illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) products in Philippine supply chains. The partnerships are addressing the grim reality that nearly half of the fisheries products sold in the Philippines come from illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, costing the country an estimated 68.5 billion pesos (USD 1.31 billion) in lost revenues annually.
SFP organized the event with major sponsors Fishta Seafood, Inc., Discovery Primea Makati, and SeaTrace International, Inc., who are key promoters of responsible seafood sourcing in the Philippines. The companies stressed the importance of protecting the oceans by ensuring the fish they source is legal and traceable.
“Any contemporary Philippine business should engage in responsible sourcing to bring transparency to seafood supply chains and assure seafood legality. This helps protect our oceans and contributes to the Philippine effort to meet the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals,” said Carina Ong-Tan, general manager of Fishta Seafood.
Ong-Tan stated that she is actively seeking commitments from hotel chains, fish processors and catering industries to pursue transparency and sustainability in sourcing local seafood. Fishta Seafood is Metro Manila’s leading seafood provider, serving major supermarkets, stores and restaurants. SeaTrace International provides a broad selection of local and international premium seafood to a wide range of customers, such as major hotel chains. Last year, the two companies became the first-ever Better Seafood Philippines partners.
The event highlighted USAID’s ongoing work on Responsible Seafood Sourcing (RSS), which aims to influence and engage seafood buyers to adopt and implement policies on responsible sourcing, processing and trading of seafood to prevent the entry of products from IUU fishing into the supply chain. Through various post-harvest, fish processing and financial management training with fishing communities, USAID, through Fish Right, ensures that fisherfolk have the capacity to properly handle, consolidate and process fish, thus enabling them to meet market requirements for responsibly sourced seafood.
The following are the companies and brands committing to source local and responsible seafood and be leaders in advancing sustainable seafood in the Philippines.
- City of Dreams Manila
- Crystal Bay Oysters
- Discovery Primea Makati
- Farmers Market
- Fishta Seafood, Inc.
- Invisible Hand, Inc.
- Kilawin Experience
- Novotel Hotel Araneta
- Robinsons Supermarket, Inc.
- SeaTrace International, Inc.
- Saravia Blue Crab, Inc.
- Santeh Feeds Corp.